Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 4 – Its Snow fun
7th December 2010
With Sheffield under a foot and a half of snow and the next round of the winter dual series just a week away I was a bit doubtful we’d be having a race this week. However, on Tuesday night 24 folk turned out to a pristine snow-covered track in our local park. Under the trees the snow was only about 6 inches deep and the zero degrees temperature was keeping it a lovely consistency. The park’s in a more of a built up area than Swinny’s field so no generators were allowed this time, we were back to duct taping our bike lights to trees. It’s amazing how few lights you need to illuminate a whole track, the first time we used only three but with most people bringing one or two now we had plenty. The posts we use are white (cut up overflow pipe, thanks B&Q) so we were a bit concerned about being able to see the course. Thankfully Henry Norman, of Ride Sheffield, supplied a load of reflective slapwraps meaning we could easily see the posts and each lane was even colour coded.
The area of the park we use is normally covered in brilliant loamy leaf mulch and previous races have been sideways affairs. However, with the few inches of snow banking up and being reinforced with loam the track was exceptionally grippy. Once it was cut in and a rut formed some of the lads were getting over to incredible angles, stomping the foot, catching the berm and powering out. However, Joe Bowman’s arse down foot paddling technique seemed to serve him well in the seeding runs.
As usual it was random prizes in the pile as an entry fee. Shamefully, some arrived without, you won’t do that again will you lads. Top prizes this week were a bottle of Strongbow, a brand new Avid Juicy 3 (er hmm) and some custom CGCC and This Is Sheffield dust caps. Seeding runs saw the top 16 moving though to the finals with a cut off time of 12.10 seconds. Poor runs from two recent third place finishers, Penis Cumming and Henry highlighted the difficulty of the course.
First round saw the two Holmesfield locals, Swinny and round 3’s winner, Tim Pearson, going head to head. Swinny had laid down the fastest Quali time with a 10.48 and Tim was only two tenths behind. On track, the first leg was taken by Tim but he couldn’t hold it on the second leg and Swinny went through. Bowman did well to fend off previous finalist Chris Pearson but went comfortably through to the second round.
Ruari Hallam and Swinny battled it out in the next round with results almost too close to call. Both made mistakes but recovered quickly, however Swinny recovered faster and moved through. Rob Stokes, riding is his end of season testimonial and his first time back on a bike in 6 weeks following a broken collar bone, dispatched Dave Mitchell. He faced teenager and previous winner Joe Mallinson in the next round. Joe with his patented ‘just before go’ start and loose and laid over style pushed Stokes hard, however Rob was victorious by 12 tenths. The other semi saw Bowman and Ruari head to head. The first leg was neck and neck but Ruari erred in the second leg leaving him to face Joe Mallinson in the small final. Ruari took this by only two tenths but it secured him 3rd place overall.
The big final was a real grudge match between part-time pinner and full-time manager, Bowman, and his newly returned team member Stokes. Joe was heard to utter ‘if you beat me, you’re off the team’ but as ever Rob just told him to fuck off and smashed him, even with a semi healed collar-bone.
Stokes also managed to lay down the fastest run of the night, a 9.53. Joe Mallison and Swinny were biting at his heals but neither could break the 10 second mark. Stokes mastery of the Prophet showed through and he dug first in to the prize pile pulling out the golden screech goodness of the ‘Bow.
The next round in two weeks is to be a Christmas special complete with festive fancy dress and secret Santa style prize pile. Ever evolving we’re attempting to implement some proper timing and start gates, but whatever we do, it’ll only increase the fun.
Big thanks to all those involved for helping out, putting poles back in the ground, bringing lights and getting sideways. Special thanks to John Alexander for doing the timing and letting me ride; to Dom Worrall and Duncan Philpott for taking some amazing photos and documenting the fun and to Joe Bowman for spreading the word and making it happen.
Nick Hamilton, Crookes Gentleman’s Cycling Club.